Each and every day, I lose myself in the immediacy of the moment, find myself in the joy of the movement. Each and every day, I learn more and more...and, within that new knowledge, realize that I have so much farther to travel.

Shallom Johnson is a contemporary dance artist, visual artist and freelance writer based in Vancouver BC. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Dance from Simon Fraser University, and has been active in the Vancouver dance community as a choreographer, performer, and instructor since her graduation in 2004.

Shallom is interested in art in public spaces, site-specific performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community involvement. Her street-based artwork, performance and photography examines and documents who gets to make art, where it gets made, and where/how the creative process and product is viewed. In the future, she hopes to explore this theme further via new media and technologies, new methods of creation, collaboration and community engagement.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Blogging on DancerUniverse.com

I've just started blogging on DancerUniverse.com! This is a brand-new network of dance bloggers who will be contributing to an online repository of thoughts and opinions on the world of dance, with all that entails.

We've got some great people on board, with a lot to say! Please come and check it out...I'll be uploading some of my archived posts from Moving Space and Time, as well as adding new exclusive posts written just for the new site.

While you're there check out the rest of the DancerUniverse site. There are all kinds of resources for dancers, students, parents, teachers, retailers, studio owners and more - whether you are interested in modern, contemporary, ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, broadway or a little bit of everything, you'll find something to sink your teeth into.

Photo: the dancers of Echo Park Contemporary Ballet, with Artistic Director Cedric Tillman and Kelly's daughter Kailei. Taken after the show on November 17th.

From left: Oscar Hawkins, Rasta Thomas, Cedric Tillman, Kelly Mayfield, Kailei Isaac, Shallom Johnson, Shylo Smith. Of course I was fabulously overdressed for the occasion, as always...lol

Stay tuned for updates on upcoming Echo Park performances - I'll be flying back to DC in February to perform in their next show, scheduled for sometime around Valentines' Day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Contradiction Dance Fundraiser Wednesday November 28th @ Tryst!

Alright everyone, Contradiction Dance is holding a happy hour fundraiser tomorrow night at Tryst, from 7-9pm:
SOS, we're SOL! Send Us To St Mary's!
Wednesday, November 28 7-9 pm
Tryst Coffeehouse•bar•lounge
2459 18th Street NW (Adam’s Morgan)
$15 Donation
RSVP: contradictiondance@mac.com • 240.475.7570

I expect to see you all there! Come on out and support this amazing group of artists. Tickets are just $15 (unless of course you are feeling extra generous and would like to donate more) and your donations will support our performance series at St Mary's College in Southern Maryland from December 4th-9th. We will be showing Objects of Hope: The America Project in its full length, its first performance on stage in a concert hall.

We need to get 7 dancers out to St Mary's for a 1 week run and they haven't been able to provide the financial support necessary for everyone to take the week off of work, let alone for us to house and feed the company while we're there.
We need you, and all your friends! Spread the word! Come on out and have a drink with us (or two or three - we've lined up some great food and drink specials) and send us to St Mary's.
Can’t make it? You can still contribute!
Mail Donations to:
Contradiction Dance • 2211 Washington Ave #101 • Silver Spring, MD 20910
Photo by Enoch Chan. Contradiction Dance in performance, "Perspective/SHIFT" June 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Bodog Fights: Johnson vs Pariseau, Prince George BC

OK so this isn't about dancing per se, but it is about movement. Mixed Martial Arts fighting, to be specific.

My brother is an MMA fighter, and a damn good one. I wanted to post a link to the video of his last fight, which he won by rear naked choke in the first round. You can watch the fight here, on the Bodog website. If you look closely you'll see my dad cheering him on during the entrance, looking extremely pumped up...
His next fight will be a King of the Cage title bout in New Brunswick. I'm so proud of him :) My little brother all grown up...
Keep an eye on this kid, soon he'll be reaching the top! He trains out of Revolution Fight Club in BC, learning from some of the best in the business. If only Vancouver wouldn't have outlawed MMA events in the city, I could watch his fights more often.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Video Post: Lick

Last Saturday I danced in Echo Park Contemporary Ballet's inagural performance, On the Outside Looking In. Notwithstanding a few technical difficulties, the show was a full house and a success for audience members and performers alike.

It was held in an intimate informal setting - Down Dog Yoga Studio in Georgetown.

This is a video clip of rehearsal for one of the works - a duet between me and Kelly, aptly titled Lick. It looks a bit rough here, but we nailed it in performance.

Choreographer: Cedric Tillman
Dancers: Kelly Mayfield and Shallom Johnson
Rehearsal venue: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange

I'm hoping to continue working with Cedric in the future - possibly making a quick trip back to DC for Echo Park's next show is February 14th, 2008 - an evening of duets to a variety of love songs, perfect for Valentine's Day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Liniment for Body Aches

My body is complaining today. Mostly my knees, but also my shoulders and back, my feet and my wrists. The increased physical strain and stress has made my joints achy and sore. I've recently discovered a really good warming liniment that will help with aches and pains of any sort. It's called Imada Red Flower Analgesic Oil, and this stuff really works. Make sure you look inside the box to confirm that you've got the kind with the green bottle and orange cap.

You can usually find it any most Chinese medicine shops, or you can order it online here for $3.99.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Radical Acts of Prayer: Stones, Earth and Clay

Plates transform, converge and diverge
Currents within the core wake,
Collide and collapse

New mountains soar
Rift valleys drop the sea to new depths
New darknesses

Change begins below the surface
The rocks are moving
Ripples spread outwards
Manifest in eruption, dissolution, destruction
Creation and decay
New life?

Inspired by rehearsals with Casie Meador for her work 613 Radical Acts of Prayer. Photo: Ilya Belenkov, in aforementioned rehearsal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Quick Choreolab Idea: Translations across Time and Space

So I need a place to jot this idea down where I won't lose it or forget about it. In discussion with Kelly and Ilya today, something in our conversation triggered this idea. I think we were talking about Kelly taping the solo that Ilya set on her...which you can see in the last post...and putting the video on Youtube so that he could give her choreographic/performance notes. Anyways. I started thinking about how movement gets translated from one body to the next, and about how playing with the parameter of distance would affect the final product. So, here is my idea.

Person 1 creates a phrase, long or short, simple or complex. I would probably start with something short but complex.

Person 1 teaches the phrase to person 2. Person 2 teaches what they learned to person 3. Person 3 repeates the process with person 4. And so on, for as many translations as you like. The last person teaches what they learned back to the first person. Find a way to show the results.

Option 1: Film the phrase each time that it has been taught and cleaned and is ready to "perform". Compile a film with the clips and see where the movement gradually changes, and where it stays the same.

Option 2: Play with the idea of time lapses between each person. Have this project evolve over many months, with each person really getting time to investigate the phrase with the person playing the role of rehearsal director/choreographer.

Option 3: Play with the idea of space. Have the phrase travel through space and time by letting each participant choose the next, wherever and whenever their travels may lead them. Decide whether you want the phrase to get back to the original owner, or not. If so, find a way to make it happen.

Option 4: Try this exercise in a studio setting work period, over one day or a few days...then combine the phrases into one work, with all dancers onstage, or moving on and offstage. Try out different relationships of time and space based on the changes each has made in the movement.

Option 5: Have one person learn all versions of the phrase and perform this as a solo.

Option 6: All of the above, in whatever combination intrigues you.

Thoughts? If you want to use this idea, please feel free. If you do, I'd love to see the results or hear some comments about the process.

Photo: Elizabeth Johnson and Cassie Meador, in rehearsal at the Dance Exchange.

Video Post: Studio Showing @ Dance Exchange

I know, I know...no new posts in over a week. I am terribly sorry, but my time has been short and my brain has been filled with so much other information that I just haven't been able to write, at all.

Ilya Belenkov (a visiting guest artist) is headed home to Russia tomorrow. Before he left, we held a studio showing in which, Ilya, Sarah Levitt, Cassie Meador and I showed choreography and received feedback. Ilya showed a completed solo that he created in his time here (absolutely beautiful movement, might I add); Sarah and I showed solos that were works in progress, and Cassie showed the beginnings of a group work that we have been working on for the past three or four days. I have footage of all three solos. I asked one of my teen students to film mine, and as a result it is a little blurry. I will try to get better footage of it later, as I continue to craft this work.

Everyone here is sad to see Ilya depart - he has been an amazing artist to collaborate with, and a brilliant mover and performer. I am looking forward to continuing our collaborations in the future - we have some plans in mind to work together with Kelly Mayfield under the umbrella of Contradiction Dance, possibly creating a site-specific work in London next season. I am also thinking of heading to Moscow this summer to attend a 3-week contemporary dance summer school, and maybe taking an extra week to do some site-specific work with Ilya and his collaborators. But of course nothing is certain, our plans are just in the initial discussion stages. Of course, as always, it will all depend on funding and other support.

Video 1: My solo (or should I say, duet?). More versions to come, stay tuned. You can see the initial chair improvisations here.

Video 2: Ilya's solo, the first time he has ever set a solo inspired solely by music and movement.

Video 3: Sarah's solo (an excerpt - my camera was initially set up too far away to catch her facial expressions, and you can't zoom in without stopping filming and starting again. The initial smiling and nodding actually went on for much longer.)